Thousands of dead fish have washed up along a beach of the South Carolina coast. The dead fish came ashore on the south end of Pawleys Island on Tuesday afternoon. The eerie sight of these fish covering the sand along the water's edge have many scrambling to find the cause, according to WLTX on Jan. 16, 2013.
The theories of what brought the dead menhaden fish to the area are already abundant. The Department of Natural Resources for South Carolina offered up the possibility of the fish dying due to thermal shock theory. This happens when the temperatures drop, but the National Weather Service reports that the coast hasn’t experienced any cold nights.
Another theory is the algae bloom, which renders the water toxic for sea life. When the DNR did their testing on Wednesday, there were no toxic algae or other toxins present in the water.
One reasonable explanation for the dead fish came from Mel Bell, the Director of Fisheries Management for SCDNR. Bell reports that lately the area has had some really high and low tides. This is the ideal situation for the fish to get stuck in a low tide pool. In a low tide pool the oxygen depletes quickly and this could be the cause for the dead fish seen on the beaches.
Bell is waiting for more tests to come back before making an official statement about what caused the dead fish. This incident of dead fish is not really that rare, back in 2011, South Carolina saw the same type of dead fish event along Folly Beach. It was determined that it was thermal shock that killed the fish during that incident. In July of 2012, dead fish washed ashore in several states as reported by the Examiner last summer.